Product management teams come in many shapes and sizes. Yet there is one key characteristic that differentiates good and great product teams. This key is diversity.
Every person is different from another, that's a given. In product management, if you can compose a team where every team member is different is the right way - you're substantially increasing your chances for success.
Experience/background diversityYou want every person on your team to enrich the group with their unique experience. Even when people's experiences seem irrelevant - a good product team finds ways to integrate it and extract value out of it. Folks without experience are also valuable to a product team. They keep more experienced members in check, helping them to reason and communicate clearly.
Cultural diversityMajority of modern products are aspiring to be global. All the most successful products on the market today are used all around the globe. To create such products you need a culturally diverse team. Even if a problem is global - the solution might need to be local. Having a rich set of cultural backgrounds on your team gives you a massive advantage.
Interests diversityYou never know where your next great product idea comes from. It could be a work-related conference or a weekend art museum tour. When people on your team have a broad set of interests - your collective chances to come up with great ideas increase.
How do you assemble and empower a diverse teamHiring is crucial. doh. High performing, successful product teams created by careful design and selection. While recruiting you need to be open and upfront about the team you aim to create. You need to describe your principals and values, such as diversity. On interviews, you need to prioritize getting to know candidates as personalities not just as skill sets.
On an interview, you ask about candidate's academic and professional achievements - but do you ask about their experiences outside work? How do they learn? What inspires them? What do they read, listen or watch?
Surely, some people like to have a strict divide between their professional and personal selves. Still, there is a strong case that in creative professions, and product management is definitely creative, your personal interests might have a major influence on your output at work.
When you have the right people on board you need to focus on building the proper environment for them to exchange their experiences and learn from each other. Communication is the cornerstone of any cooperation, especially in a product team.